New star iwi to light up Matariki Festival

Publish Date : 23 Apr 2018
Arataki Visitor Centre_credit Gary Ashton_landscape.jpg
Arataki Visitor Centre. Photo credit: Gary Ashton

Tāmaki Makaurau will look west to Te Kawerau a Maki as the iwi takes on the hosting of this year’s Matariki Festival.

The west Auckland iwi will host Matariki Festival 2018 in partnership with Auckland Council and open festivities on 30 June with an evocative dawn karakia at the Arataki Visitor Centre, located in the heart of Te Waonui a Tiriwa (Waitākere Ranges).

Over three weeks the festival will celebrate Matariki with more than 100 events across the region. Te Kawerau a Maki are the third mana whenua iwi to host the festival and will be handed the honour by their predecessor, Ngāti Manuhiri, at a tuku mauri (spiritual handover) in mid-June.

Mayor Phil Goff says, “It’s great to join with mana whenua to share their stories and history as we celebrate Matariki, the beginning of the Māori new year.

“As we welcome the start of the New Year, it is also a time to reflect on the past, to celebrate our blessings and to spend time with family and friends.

“Congratulations to Te Kawerau a Maki as they take leadership in hosting Matariki this year.

“Matariki also signals the commencement of planting season. I look forward to joining with iwi and all of Auckland as we look to planting half a million shrubs and trees in 2018 towards the achievement of our Million Trees programme to green Auckland.

Arataki Visitor Centre_credit Gary Ashton_portrait.jpg
Arataki Visitor Centre. Photo credit: Gary Ashton.

Te Warena Taua, Executive Chair of Te Kawerau Iwi Settlement Trust says, “Te Kawerau a Maki looks forward to the opportunity to reflect and share their history, culture and stories with all of Tāmaki Makaurau and the people of Aotearoa whānui.”

Matariki Festival is Auckland’s premier winter festival and a chance for Tāmaki Makaurau to come together to celebrate the Māori New Year.

Aucklanders are invited to experience the spectacle of their city coming alive with the sights, sounds and tastes of Matariki; from an unforgettable dawn karakia (traditional blessing), to spine-tingling kapa haka, family kite-flying and street kai.

A range of community events will also bring Aucklanders together to reflect on, and celebrate, our unique tikanga Māori in relation to the Matariki season.

This year’s festival dates incorporate the lunar phases that will see the star cluster Matariki (Pleiades) rise during the festival: a time to be with family and friends, reflect on the past, celebrate those who are not with us and prepare for the year ahead.

Matariki Festival is hosted in partnership by Auckland Council and Te Kawerau a Maki and supported by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Go to for programme announcements from June or follow @MatarikiFestival on Facebook.

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